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Thread: Cutting direction

  1. #1
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    Cutting direction

    What's the best way to use a rotary cutter? Should one make vertical or horizontal cuts?
    I tried searching the archives, but evidently no one has asked this question.
    Pat H
    Carencro LA

  2. #2
    Super Member Scissor Queen's Avatar
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    You cut straight forward, away from yourself.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scissor Queen View Post
    You cut straight forward, away from yourself.
    That is generally the best way - especially for a beginner.

    I'm right-hand dominant, so I can cut fairly easily straight forward with my rotary cutter on the right hand side of the ruler, and I can also cut from right to left fairly easily with the cutter on the 'far side' of the ruler.

  4. #4
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    You cut away from yourself in case you slip. Fold your fabric until the width can fit onto your cutting matt. I lay my extra yardage on the table so there is no drag to distort the folded fabric. Make sure the selvages and the folds stay lined up. Trim the first edge off and discard. I place my ruler on the fabric and make a little teepee with my left hand on top of the ruler. Make sure that all fingertips and thumb are well back from the ruler edge. I use my right hand with the rotary cutter to cut away from my self along the ruler edge. Close the rotary cutter and gently pull the cut piece to make sure it is cut all the way through before moving the ruler.

  5. #5
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    As long as you cut away from yourself, you can cut the fabric in any direction you desire. I have no problem in cutting out circles when I need them.

  6. #6
    Super Member Peckish's Avatar
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    I recently spent about an hour with a quilting friend, teaching her a piecing technique. She cuts towards herself. Let me tell you, it DROVE ME NUTS!!! And my mom is a beginning quilter, she keeps putting down her cutter with the blade locked open - another thing that drives me nuts! I am getting her a new cutter that closes automatically for Christmas - she is very accident prone and I just know someday she's going to call me from the ER.

  7. #7
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    Yes, definitely cut AWAY from yourself with the rotary cutter (or any other sharp blade, really). I do as Tartan does with extra yardage on the table to elminate distortion. That said, I also go to the 'far' side of my cutting table to cut the first 'straightening' cut then I don't have to flip fabric to be able to measure from the cut edge for my subsequent cuts.

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    I think that it is easier to cut verticle than horizontal. When I try to cut horzontal I tend to cut crooked. Always cut away from yourself. Many cutter are adjustable for righty or lefty. I do not use glove like Fons and Porter do. No cut fingers yet (knock on wood)

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Peckish View Post
    I recently spent about an hour with a quilting friend, teaching her a piecing technique. She cuts towards herself. Let me tell you, it DROVE ME NUTS!!! And my mom is a beginning quilter, she keeps putting down her cutter with the blade locked open - another thing that drives me nuts! I am getting her a new cutter that closes automatically for Christmas - she is very accident prone and I just know someday she's going to call me from the ER.
    Maybe you should get it for her NOW?

    I do like those that automatically close when the cutter is put down.

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    Yes..I like my Olfa! I can lock it in ready mode or lock it in closed mode. I don't usually have a problem with cutting a straight line as long as I use a ruler. Most of my cuts have been vertical (away from me) but if I have a small surface to cut on, I will also cut horizontally. I do know it's hard to see where you're cutting when you have the cutter on the far side of the ruler, but I make sure that it's snug against it before cutting.
    Pat H
    Carencro LA

  11. #11
    Super Member Raggiemom's Avatar
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    I cut away from myself but have cut both horizontally and vertically, depending on where I'm standing. Do what's comfortable (and safe ) for you.
    Heather

  12. #12
    Power Poster Jingle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NJ Quilter View Post
    Yes, definitely cut AWAY from yourself with the rotary cutter (or any other sharp blade, really). I do as Tartan does with extra yardage on the table to elminate distortion. That said, I also go to the 'far' side of my cutting table to cut the first 'straightening' cut then I don't have to flip fabric to be able to measure from the cut edge for my subsequent cuts.
    This how I do it too. Also, with four cats around I close the cutter before I leave the area. I'm afraid one may jump up on the table and knock the cutter off. It would ruin my hardwood floor.
    Another Phyllis
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  13. #13
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  14. #14
    Super Member Peckish's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bearisgray View Post
    Maybe you should get it for her NOW?
    I'm safe to wait until Christmas. She is a gardening nut, absolutely lives in the garden until late November, then Thanksgiving and Christmas preparations and decorating keep her busy. She doesn't break out her quilting and hand embroidery projects until after Christmas.

  15. #15
    Super Member PenniF's Avatar
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    Can't agree more about the "closing" after every cut -- if you start out reminding yourself every time, it will get to be an unconscious habit.... and PLEASE - wear REAL shoes while cutting.....if for some unknown reason the cutter slips from your grasp - or you forgot to close it and knock it off the table - you won't be in the ER because the blade fell on your unprotected foot !!

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by labeelady View Post
    What's the best way to use a rotary cutter? Should one make vertical or horizontal cuts?...........
    It depends on what I'm cutting. Large strip cuts will be vertical and away from me. Small cuts are a toss up. I'm going to get one of those rotating mats recommended in other threads.

    The Gypsy Gripper is a good tool to help beginners gain confidence while rotary cutting. My LQS uses them in their beginner classes. It's easy to move the ruler, hold it down in position, and cut. I use one if I know I'm going to be doing some tricky or horizontal cuts.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Peckish View Post
    I'm safe to wait until Christmas. She is a gardening nut, absolutely lives in the garden until late November, then Thanksgiving and Christmas preparations and decorating keep her busy. She doesn't break out her quilting and hand embroidery projects until after Christmas.
    Sounds good to me - - -

  18. #18
    Super Member jitkaau's Avatar
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    Away from yourself and in a manner not likely to injure your hand - i.e. keep fingers etc. behind the blade, not in front.

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    A friend of mine cuts with her right or left hand. She teaches quilting, and can't be running to the far side of the table to do cutting in front of students.

    I have tried cutting with my left hand, using only fabric that is not so important. If I make a mistake on that, I won't care. Trouble is, I don't have enough opportunities to do the practicing, and I am still afraid to try it on my good stuff. Also sometimes I'm just lazy. It's so much easier to just do it with my right hand.

  20. #20
    Super Member amandasgramma's Avatar
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    I haven't read everyone's answers -- but here's my view: It's according to table space and size of the project. I just trimmed a 108" wide backing and had to cut from right to left (horizontal?). Usually I cut vertical -- from my belly to the top of the table.

    If you go to www.youtube.com and type in "how to use a rotary cutter", you'll find a ton of videos on how to cut. Have fun!
    Dee


    "A life spent making mistakes is not only more honorable, but more useful than a life spent doing nothing." by George Bernard Shaw

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by PenniF View Post
    Can't agree more about the "closing" after every cut -- if you start out reminding yourself every time, it will get to be an unconscious habit.... and PLEASE - wear REAL shoes while cutting.....if for some unknown reason the cutter slips from your grasp - or you forgot to close it and knock it off the table - you won't be in the ER because the blade fell on your unprotected foot !!
    I don't close my cutter between every cut but do if I leave it available on the table between cutting sessions because I've realized even teenage grandsons are curious enough to pick it up and "test" the sharpness of the blade!

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by maviskw View Post
    A friend of mine cuts with her right or left hand...............
    I sometimes do this, too. The Olfa rotary cutter that converts from right hand to left hand use with a push of the tab is great.

  23. #23
    Super Member PenniF's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mme3924 View Post
    I don't close my cutter between every cut but do if I leave it available on the table between cutting sessions because I've realized even teenage grandsons are curious enough to pick it up and "test" the sharpness of the blade!
    Amend to my prior post....by closing after every cut - i meant when you are shifting fabric, changing fabric, repositioning, etc....something like that...not "every cut" if you are doing 10 strips in a row...if i lay the cutter down, it gets closed. should have said it that way...sorry for the confusion.

  24. #24
    Super Member 117becca's Avatar
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    I had to think which way I cut....I couldn't control it if i pushed the cutter away from me. I pull the cutter towards me - from the top to the bottom. I also generally cut across the width of the fabric.

    I think you need to practice and see which one feels more comfortable for you.
    my name is becca and i'm a quilt-a-holic :-)

  25. #25
    Super Member nancia's Avatar
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    for some reason i like to cut on an angle away from my body.i agree with whoever said , as long as it's away from your body you're ok. some people can cut with either hand. i've tried it, and i can't. strictly right handed.
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